Mayday Parade / The Maine / Have Mercy / Beautiful Bodies
Leeds Stylus – 06/02/16
It’s a Saturday night and it’s party time at Leeds University tonight for the all American rock line up hitting a sold out ‘Leeds Stylus’. Not for the first time, The Maine and Mayday Parade share the stage across the UK, but before we get to that, a very early turn out of fans have made a special effort to get down to see some fantastic support.
First up is Beautiful bodies (8) who have created quite some hype about themselves recently with their new single ‘Capture and Release’. So we’re excited to see what else they have in their locker.
As soon as they hit the stage front woman Alicia Solombrino is in our faces and gliding across the stage into every gap left available from the set up. It’s not too long before she gives up and decides that the stage isn’t big enough for the Missouri rockers, and heads down into the crowd over the barrier during a fantastic performance of ‘Lies’. It’s explosive, and a blistering solo from guitarist Thomas Becker as he lies on the edge of the stage with his head over the security, who is juggling Becker’s rocking head and fishing out Alicia in the crowd with the mic lead.
We can’t remember seeing so much energy from an opening band, and they have jumped at the chance to make a huge impact in the UK and win over the crowd with their lively shows and irresistible arsenal of alternative rock.
The short set closes with the fantastic performance of ‘Capture and Release’ across the barrier, and the brand new single ‘War Inside Your Heart’ which is a little less full throttle, displaying this band have more about them with Alicia’s stunning vocals over a tight performance from the band.
Expect Beautiful Bodies to be back in the UK far sooner than you think, and make sure you check them out before they explode into greatness!
Following a tough opening act is Have Mercy (7), who don’t particularly fit tonight’s bill on paper, but they create some welcome diversity to the set with their steady rock and poetic lyrics. The fluctuating ‘The Place You Love’ shows a different rougher vocal range from front man Brian Swindle during a roaring chorus, which sounds brilliant as it rises from a melodic calm verse.
‘Two Years’ is uncountable one of their best songs in the live set, and it exposes the few fans they have brought down tonight bouncing along down at the front of the crowd to the lively infectious chorus.
Underrated is a word commonly used with Baltimore’s Have Mercy, and tonight they showed just what potential they really have hidden in the back of a tantalising bill of American Rock.
Now we get down to what everyone is here for tonight, and the first part of that is the Arizona five-piece The Maine (8) who linger onstage checking their equipment as the crowd impatiently wait for them to kick the set off with ‘English Girls’. When they finally do, its pop rock upbeat intro has the floor moving from front to back, and when the chorus kicks in everyone is singing along loudly. A strong start to the set continues through the likes of ‘Growing Up’ and ‘Diet Soda Society’ with front man John O’Callaghan on his toes and raring to go.
‘I Am Pretty’ continues to up the tempo and the cheerful party mood all around the room with it’s upbeat and dynamic chorus, with some solid play and backing vocals from the guitarist Kennedy Brock who with the rest of the band play a tight set all around. The Maine really do have a strong stage presence, they fill the stage with movement and sound huge, but also John O’Callaghan can’t help but keep everyone thoroughly involved throughout the show with every chance he gets, pointing out fans and demanding them to sing along without the need of much persuasion.
“We’ve gotta get you warmed up for Mayday Parade my friends!” shouts the front man who creates a huge roar as he leads the crowd into a strong close to the set with ‘Like We Did’ and ‘Another Night On Mars’ which sees the room hit the next level just in time for tonight’s headliners to take advantage of.
A solid and enthusiastic performance from the lads in The Maine, who prove yet again why the UK love them so much with a show providing everything and more of what we expect from them.
It’s time for Florida favorite’s Mayday Parade (7) to finish off the night in style. Out of the Smokey dark mist storm the five piece to the loud and proud ‘One Of Them Will Destroy The Other’! You can barely see the lads on the stage through the dark smoke and eerie lighting, but they sound powerful in this venue.
Golden oldie ‘Jamie All Over’ takes us straight back to the early days of Mayday Parade after a much more current start to the set. The guys fly across the stage dodging each over as they thrash out the opening songs, being the only band to top Beautiful Bodies tonight for a lethal stage presence.
‘Three Cheers For Five Years’ has the rampant Leeds crowd singing out loud, before the set slows down for the trickling ‘Hallow’ which has the room in darkness with bright strobes flashing out through the chorus and screeching solo from lead guitarist Alex Garcia.
The band plays confidently and comfortably throughout the night, but just lack that something special to make the room flip into chaos. Front man Derek Sanders is more cool and collective at times than energetic, but still sounds great vocally all night.
The night slows right down as the front man takes center stage armed with his acoustic guitar for ‘Letting Go’ and Terrible Things’, which has phone lights and lighters out all around the room as they sway from side to side. A late addition of ‘Black Cat’ provides one of the highlights of the show so far, before a moving performance of ‘Miserable At Best’ from the front man with his keyboard cools things off, leaving the crowd begging for more.
A blistering encore for ‘Jersey’ gives everyone what they want, and finishes the night in a more appropriate way, leaving everyone bouncing and singing along whilst grinning from ear to ear.
Not the best performance we’ve seen of Mayday Parade, but one well worth a headline slot at Leeds Stylus backed up by some solid support acts. We’ll definitely be interested to see what Mayday Parade can bring back to Leeds in May for Slam Dunk festival!
Photography – Danny Peart Photography